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Russian Federation initiates WTO dispute over U.S. steel, aluminum duties
05 July 2018, 03:07 | Kelvin Horton
President Trump's administration has reportedly drafted a bill abandoning key World Trade Organization rules
Major U.S. trading partners including the European Union, China and Japan voiced deep concern at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Tuesday about possible U.S. measures imposing additional duties on imported autos and parts.
It's the acronym for the Act that's caught the attention of Twitter though. "Most countries agree that they must be changed, but nobody ever asked!"
"America has also finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs, and our Nation's wealth". Titled the "United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act"-or, as manymedia outlets have been calling it, the less flattering "FART Act"-the legislation was first leaked to Axios on Sunday evening".
The bill essentially provides Trump a license to raise USA tariffs at will, without congressional consent and global rules be damned. Axios reported that "most officials involved in the bill's drafting. think the bill is unrealistic or unworkable".
"The only way this would be news is if this were actual legislation that the administration was preparing to rollout, but it's not", Walters told the publication.
Axios reports that under the bill the US would elect to abandon the "Most Favored Nation" (MFN) principle, which says countries are not allowed to set different tariff rates for different countries outside of free trade agreements.
According to Axios, Trump was briefed on the bill in May, but it hasn't yet been reviewed by key economic advisers. He says he's not "planning anything now" but if the WTO doesn't treat the United States properly, "we will be doing something".
The "United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act" essentially bestows Trump (or any future president) with the power to determine any current or future tariff rates with countries-outside of the jurisdiction of the WTO.
In the document dated June 29, Moscow accused Washington of multiple violations of global trade rules, and formally asked the U.S. for "consultations" over tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium.
Trump denied he is planning to withdraw the United States from the World Trade Organization.